Every week BARBARA FISHER looks at issues that affect us all – the issues that get you talking. You can join in by emailing bmailbarbara@police station
OH, what a stupid fuss about Disney films.
You will remember in the story of Snow White, our heroine is in a deathless slumber before being woken by a kiss from, naturally ... a prince.
It’s a fairytale – not an instruction book on feminism. Not everything has to be brought in line with the current oh-so-bossy dogma. My way or no way.
This story, which has fascinated children for decades, is meant to be a love story, not a case of possible sexual assault.
Believing there is only one way to think, and the past must be changed to fit in with the present, is absurd at best and dangerous at worst.
To make the present a safer, happier, place for children, I suggest that, rather than culling fairytales that most of us seem to have survived, we ration their diet of violent films and video games which I think have done untold harm to a generation.
And before you point out that the old Grimms’ fairytales were littered with horror and violence, I think we should be wary of underestimating children’s understanding of fiction.
Children know the difference between witches holding children prisoner in a gingerbread house and the stories that are too-near reality – mass killings seen on TV news reproduced for them as entertainment.
This is not shrinking from reality. As a tot, I was upset by the sad part of Disney’s Bambi – but it was also a beautiful film, sensitive, not brutal. It taught me gently about loss.
Books and films can be an escape, but life isn’t all sweet and children eventually become aware that – never mind the present – history is littered with horrors. They don’t need to be shielded from it forever. Nor do they need it rammed down their throats.
Once by Morris Gleitzman, which I read to a class of Year 7 pupils last week, is a wonderful story of resilience, loyalty and friendship, set against a background of the Holocaust.
But back to fairytales. Romantic tales aren’t harmful – most little girls don’t go looking for a prince (although I found mine obviously, Mr F reminds me, looking over my shoulder as I write.)
If I’m ever comatose, I’ll be quite happy to be woken by a passing prince. If it’s a sudden collapse rather than a long-term swoon, the kiss of life from a paramedic (male or female) would be handier obviously.
More importantly, if it’s a long sleep, Mr F has strict instructions to get my hairdresser, Amy, to regularly touch up my roots.
Disney matter – is there too much fuss about fairytales?